Mark’s favourite fruit- Mangos are in full season. At the moment we are spoiled, Scott’s mum and dad who live up north in tropical Queensland have a grove of Bowen Mango trees, and Mark gets a box or two of newspaper wrapped fruit every summer. Our new place has a large Common Mango tree, the fruit are not quite as good as the Bowen variety, but the tree is laden with fruit that are just turning colour and ripening. One of the bad things about having a mango tree in your back yard is fruit bats, and we have a large colony of them. Bats are a real nuiscance. They poop on your washing and half eat the fruit on the tree. Nothing is funnier then Mark standing under the tree telling them to piss off and leave his mangos alone, and to then hear a half-eaten mango plop to the ground.
Thai Mango Chicken
3 chicken thighs, cut into 4 cm pieces
1/4 cup oil for pan-frying
1 cup all-purpose flour (or rice flour) mixed with 1/2 tsp.
1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh coriander
Optional: extra 1/2 to 1 mango, cut into chunks (to finish the dish)
2 fresh ripe mangos, fruit scooped out
1 red chili diced (remove seeds for a milder flavour, or add more for some kick (we use 6!))
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1+1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
juice and zest of 1 lime
2 Tbsp. palm sugar (or soft brown sugar)
2cm piece of ginger, sliced
3 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp. turmeric
Place all ‘Mango Sauce’ ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process well, until more or less smooth.
Taste-test the sauce. The goal is to reach a balance of sweet, sour, spicy, and salty. Add more sugar if you find the sauce too sour (this will depend on the sweetness of your mangoes). If not spicy enough, add more chili. If not salty enough, add more fish sauce. If too salty or too sweet, add more lime juice. Set aside.
Stir the flour and salt together and place in a mixing-type bowl. Add the chicken pieces and turn or gently stir them to coat.
Heat a wok or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil, then begin frying the chicken pieces. Fry 3-5 minutes per side, or until light golden brown and cooked through. Remove chicken from pan and set on paper towel, or a clean surface.
Wash out the wok/frying pan, or use another (clean) one. Set over medium-high heat and add the mango sauce plus red pepper. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce to a simmer (medium to low heat). If sauce becomes too thick, add 3-4 Tbsp. water. Simmer 3-4 minutes, or until pepper has softened slightly but still retains some crispness.
Add the fried chicken pieces, gently stirring them in to cover with sauce. If desired, add chunks of mango (fruit of 1/2 to 1 ripe mango) too. Simmer briefly, just until everything is hot.
Do a final taste-test for salt (tasting the sauce together with the chicken). Add a little more fish sauce or chili if desired.
Transfer to a serving dish. Sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve with plenty of Thai jasmine-scented rice